I’m a huge admirer of James Wood, the New Yorker’s book critic and one of the English speaking world’s most influential reviewers. His thoughtful and intelligent reviews never disappoint. Here are his top picks from 2014.
What better way to kick off 2015 than with an excellent book by a mysterious writer? Italian author Elena Ferrante, whose real identity nobody knows, creates a perfect microcosm of childhood and adolescence in her book My Brilliant Friend, the first in a quartet. It’s a vibrant and violent coming-of-age story and a portrait of an intense friendship between two girls.
One of my favourite literary awards, the Bad Sex in Ficton Award, was just announced and this year Ben Okri runs away with the prize for the sex depicted in his latest book The Age of Magic.
Don’t you just love it when someone gives you a thoughtful book as a present? Perhaps a book that you have heard about but never got around to buying or an author you’ve never read before who turns out to be your new favourite? I’ve been sifting through new releases and chosen some of my favourites reads from 2014 – fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. The books on this list are books I’ve read and reviewed (click on title for my review) and books I like the sound of that I’ll spend Christmas reading (click on title for newspaper reviews). There’s a lot of great reading out there waiting to be given away!
This museum is unlike any you’ve visited before. Open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, its collection boasts an unrivalled catalogue of the world’s finest and most extraordinary creatures, with each exhibit in immaculate condition and presented in fantastic detail.
A couple of years ago, I geekily set out to read a sizeable stack of Michael Morpurgo’s bestselling children’s books back-to-back. Why? I wanted to work out why this author in particular had me in tears with every single story I read. I was dying to know if he had some kind of formula, and if I could work it out. Actually, I think I did spot a few patterns, but it seems a bit cynical to go into those here!
Fantastic news here for all Jonathan Franzen fans after a five-year wait! His new novel called Purity will be out in September 2015. The author seduced both critics and the reading public with his book The Corrections in 2001, and was instantly recognised as an important new voice in American literature.